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  1. #1
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    Good morning, Hanoi

    We got a good deal on Nok Air, so we went to Hanoi for 3 days.

    Having read so many horror stories about scams going on out there, I planned to have my guard up at all times.

    Didn't help much, really.



    We had booked a hotel (40 USD) and airport pick-up service (12 USD) well in advance. When we landed at Noi Bai airport as scheduled, there was no one to pick us up. After a while we decided to grab a taxi to the hotel ourselves.

    The taxi we got from the airport agreed on 12 USD flat rate from the airport to the hotel. When the taxi passed a toll-booth looking thingy, we saw his company (yes, he had a company!) paid something like 10,000 VND to someone before reaching the booth. But didn’t pay anything at the booth.

    He asked us how much we were paying the hotel, and one of us told him we hadn’t paid yet. And he asked again how much, so I lied and told him 29 USD. He exclaimed “Expensive!” and started going on about 10 USD hotels, etc etc. None of his business really if we wanted safety and comfort. He was on the phone quite often while driving into town.

    And he finally parked in front of the hotel (I think it was), and before we could get out, a guy opened the taxi and said “You’ve booked a room right? Sorry, the hotel is full now. But I will tell the taxi driver to take you to the other hotel of us with the same quality and same price. It’s not too far. It’s also in town.”

    I wasn’t too sure, but this hotel does have a second one.

    And off we went.

    The taxi driver dropped us at some sort of hotel (it’s actually a travel agent with rooms upstairs). When I gave him 12 USD, he started making a scene and showed me a almost-A4 size paper - all in Vietnamese language with “300,000 VND” on it. He demanded we paid this 300,000 VND also as it was “government fee”, referring to the toll-booth looking thingy.

    Government fee my arse.

    I asked him how come the toll booth fee was higher than the actual taxi fare. He didn’t answer, but started making a scene again that we had to pay. Then, we told him we would look at the room first and would come back to deal with him shortly.

    The room was ok. And the hotel receptionist said “So that hotel charge you 29 USD right? We’ll charge the same rate.”

    So, how come you knew they were charging us 29 USD then, you cheeky twat? And it wasn’t even the right amount!

    We negotiated the price down, and done at 25 USD, including breakfast. And they confirmed they opened 24/7, e.g. not going to lock us out if we came back late.

    And we went down to the taxi driver again. We decided to pay to end this hoo-ha as it’s a bloody waste of time. We gave him 300,000 VND with the “take it or leave it”

    remark. He took it while still complaining and drove off. I suspect the 300,000 VND thingy was in fact the car tax for the whole year. So, if you are sure you are safe from them, tell your taxi driver to fuck off.

    We got changed and came down stairs to ask about one day tour to Halong Bay that we wanted to go the next day. The same receptionist quoted us 25 USD for ordinary tour and lunch. We negotiated down to 23 USD and couldn’t be bothered to negotiate further.

    It was a join tour (16 pax) and it shouldn’t cost you more than 20 USD. So, again, if you are sure you are safe from them, tell them to fuck off. Or go to another travel agent. Someone will definitely start from 20 USD and you can probably get it at 16 - 18 USD.

    After paying yet another overpriced tour, we went out to explore the city. Only took us 3 and half hours to get all this shit done.



    Hanoi was very noisy. There were many many motorbikes. And everyone seemed to be going at the car/bike horn all the time. Madness.



    We walked around a bit, using "Walking Tour" in Lonely Planet as our guide.



    Name tag, anyone?



    While we were making our way back to the hotel, we spotted a pub we had walked past earlier. So we went in for a cold one. It’s called Le Pub.

    My cold one (Bia Ha Noi) cost 16,000 VND (or 1 USD). Pho cost 20,000 VND here (7,000 VND on the street, but it wasn’t very comfortable to sit).

    When we walked into the hotel, we saw the taxi driver there chatting away with the hotel boys.

    Cheeky bastard.

    Anyway… we got some rest as it was quite cold, it was a long day, and we had to get up early for the Halong Bay trip.
    Work is the curse of the drinking classes.

    - Oscar Wilde

  2. #2
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    Day 2

    We went down the next morning around 7.30 AM for breakfast. Some dodgy bread, butter and jam, and coffee or tea.

    While waiting for the van to pick us up, we took a look around the area.



    And the van finally turned up. So, we started our (approx) 3 hours journey to Halong harbour.

    The van stopped for 20 minutes at this place where you could buy (overpriced) souvenir.





    And not too long, we arrived at Halong harbour. At long fucking last.



    There were hundreds of boats here, heading to Halong Bay daily. Here, your tour guide will give you a ticket which you have to keep on you. They will check this ticket again at the cave. The ticket is included in the tour price.

    It was quite an adventure walking through another boat, and hopping on the next one, trying not to fall off. Take your rucksack if you have stuff with you. Even if it was just a bloody book. Oh, and DO take your own drinks. It was expensive on the boat.

    When everyone was ready, our driver started engine, bumping and pushing other boats to get out. And we were on the way to Halong Bay.



    Not sure if this one was going to Halong Bay also.



    And right on cue, there was a 7-eleven boat chasing us. Selling some fruit.



    They got us.



    ….. and no sign of lunch yet. Everyone was starving. We were wondering why they were not serving lunch yet. After 45 minutes into the journey, we knew why.

    We had to stop at this Seafood market.





    Let's see what they got.



    These buggers cost 200,000 VND per kilo. That’s 12.5 USD. A few of them were so big the dish would take up the whole table.

    No, thanks.

    After a long while, the boat started moving again. And not long, lunch was served!!



    There were also two dishes (fish and.. I forgot) after this, but we were too hungry to wait. So, no pics of them.

    Stomach was full and we were happy again so we started enjoying the scenery in Halong Bay.



    Kissing or fighting chicken? These two chicken inspired the Vietnam Tourism and they use them as their logo.



    Next stop was a cave. They did it nicely for tourists. They dropped us off here.



    Let’s take a look inside.





    Your tour guide will tell you all the stories about it. Their accent might be a bit difficult to understand, though.

    After the cave, the boat made her way to Cat Ba island to drop people who were staying the night in Halong Bay off. The rest went back with the boat to Halong harbour and took the van back to Hanoi. We arrived back in Hanoi around 8.30PM.



    We then continued our journey and went to the night market.



    It’s located on Hang Dao street, and go all the way from Hoan Kiem Lake to Dong Xuan Market. Lots of cheap stuff you can get as souvenir and this is the best place to buy. But you have to be a bit patient, as the Vietnamese like to push their way. They probably don’t even realise they do it. I mean.. all of them. We got pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed. Until we had enough, and decided to go back get some rest. The locals didn't see the funny side of it when we started pushing them back, though.

  3. #3
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    Day 3

    The last day, we got our tickets for the Water Puppet at 2:45 PM. They do have an extra round on Sundays at 9.30 AM.



    As it was our last day, we decided to go for a proper breakfast elsewhere. And here it is…



    This one cost 25,000 VND, and the tea cost 10,000 VND. That’s about 2.19 USD in total.

    After breakfast was shopping time. Around Hoan Kiem Lake, there were thousands of shops. Very good prices for shoes, boots, and bags. And I popped over to the Huc Bridge over Hoan Kiem Lake.



    Then, we went back to hotel to check out. And got on cyclos for an hour tour. They asked for 5 USD per hour. But we got the price down to 3 USD. You can try for 2 USD as many people got it at that price.









    When an hour was up, we got something to eat, and headed to the Water Puppet Theatre. The tickets are 20,000 and 40,000 VND. Though they write they charge 15,000 VND for photographs during show, and 75,000 VND for video, no one bothers to pay or to ask someone to pay.



    The show takes about 50 minutes, I think. All in their language, so it might be a good idea to google Water Puppet and see what they're on about.



    After the Water Puppet, we walked around a little bit more and got back to hotel. We got a taxi to the airport via the hotel we stayed at 14 USD. And we made the guy promise us there would be no fucking extra fees this time. He did. So, although the fee was a little higher than it was supposed to be, we were okay with it.

    And we had a pleasant journey back here.

    Oh how I missed civilisation.

  4. #4
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    nice report well done

  5. #5
    Member Deus Ex's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed that.

    Thanks.

  6. #6
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    What hotel had you booked and what hotel did you end up staying in?

  7. #7
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    Well done for that, thanks very much.

  8. #8
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    So your doing the tourist thing in Halong Bay, you stop at the seafood market,



    Did they expect you to buy a fish to take back to your hotel? Seems a bit of a strange stopping point for a boatload of tourists, well, unless they want a pet fish I suppose

  9. #9
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    Good report and Photos

  10. #10
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    Enjoyed that, thanks.

    Good old fashioned crooked cab drivers. So he phoned his mate to stand outside your hotel to tell you it was full? 10 out of 10 for enterprise!

  11. #11
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    Nice thread mate. Looks as though it was a bit cold up there?

    I was Hanoi recently and checked out this restaurant. Definitely worth trying, especially if you like your mushrooms.

    Ashima Mushroom Hot Pot
    Address: 35A Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Dist 1, HCM City
    Tel: (08) 9 824 1966

  12. #12
    Member zipcode's Avatar
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    Nice report and pics, and thanks for the pics.

    Those girls didn't looked handicapped, looked like they had left arm under the table?

    There is a large Vietnamese population here in Silicon Valley, and they too are victimized by scams when travelling "back home"; my Viet friends have warned me off making a trip, so doubly enjoyed your report and pics.

  13. #13
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    love Hanoi. enjoyed the pics and report, thanks,.

  14. #14
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    cheers lads.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    What hotel had you booked and what hotel did you end up staying in?
    we had booked Viet Anh Hotel ( http://www.vietanhhotel.com/ ), but looks like their website is down at the moment. we ended up staying at Gold Star Hotel on Hang Voi Street instead. got a couple of pics of the room. hot water was a bit unpredictable, though.

    Viet Anh Hotel emailed me on my Day 2 there asking why we didn't check in. got an earful. and she got back to me apologosing for the mistake, as they wrote down our arrival time to be midnight, instead of midday.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    Did they expect you to buy a fish to take back to your hotel?
    not really. they would cook it for your lunch on the boat if you bought it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zavier38
    Good old fashioned crooked cab drivers. So he phoned his mate to stand outside your hotel to tell you it was full? 10 out of 10 for enterprise!
    good work isn't it. buncha lying cheating twats.

    Quote Originally Posted by zipcode
    Those girls didn't looked handicapped, looked like they had left arm under the table?
    i was wondering the same when i saw the sign. they sure had both their arms and legs. maybe they were deaf?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Kerr
    Looks as though it was a bit cold up there?
    yes, it was. high about 20C, low about 14C.

  15. #15
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    Any naughty areas in Hanoi, what about stimulants?

  16. #16
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    erm, plenty of availble lasses stroll, but naughty is frowned upon and u might just get robbed instead, (you cannot bring girls back into your room)

    drugs, yes, plenty of low quality fuck u up herion abounds, and i think green is available also.

    i should mention i dont like either.

  17. #17
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    Great report...

    Do you reckon they attempt to scam the tourist more there compared to other nearby countries?

    Did you need to sort out visas before going or is there any tourist visa on arrival there?

    And would you go back?

  18. #18
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    visa first. and bring spare copies of entire application and passport photos (not really needed anymore, but used to be)

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawlins
    Do you reckon they attempt to scam the tourist more there compared to other nearby countries?
    even uglier than thai scams, mate.

    And would you go back?
    yes, i would. although a lot of them are lying cheating twats, it's fun in a way.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by extras
    we had booked Viet Anh Hotel ( http://www.vietanhhotel.com/ ), but looks like their website is down at the moment. we ended up staying at Gold Star Hotel on Hang Voi Street instead. got a couple of pics of the room. hot water was a bit unpredictable, though.
    Should've done your research first mate.

    http://teakdoor.com/cambodia-vietnam...ve-report.html

  21. #21
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    ^ have done quite a research (when i remembered i had bought plane tickets), but still not enough i suppose. those bastards are cheekier than i thought.

  22. #22
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    exceleent report, was thinking of going there myself.

  23. #23
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    Saigon (Ho Chi Minh)'s much more fun. Those Vietnamese taxi drivers are the worst.

  24. #24
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    Great story and pics Extras. I did a similar one to Ho Chi Minh (sp?) anyway, Saigon, around ten years ago. Same things tried on us down there (aside from the tollgate thing) and also with the cyclo pests. We were supposed to stay a week, but gave it the flick after three days; at that time, there was feck-all tourist infrastructure in Saigon, although I'm aware that it has improved a lot since then. No ambition of ever returning. But at least you seem to have enjoyed yourself inspite of those pricks' best efforts.

  25. #25
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    I done that exact same trip but we stayed on cat ba island for 2 nights and it was well worth it as its a long day trying to do all that in the one day.

    Did'nt fancy staying on the boat though after being on them for hours as its enough for me.

    Regards those taxi drivers and the airport scam. These guys are experts at this game, pull it on to every round eye who enters and make a bloody killing out of it especially with young female backpackers as they intimidate them into paying the money.

    I was very pissed off as ive been around and thought i knew every scam going but they got me on that exact senerio you explaned.

    Friggin hotel was full and they took us to another where we booked a halong tour and got ripped off so you are no orphan mate.

    Great photos and trip report.

    cheers.

    PS Next time you go back jump on the train and head up to sapa.
    Stroller is a Yerman faggot.

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